Landlord Cheri Woods Pleads No Contest to Overcharging Norton Avenue Tenant

8214 Norton Ave.

Cheri Woods, the notorious landlord of a building where rocker Jim Morrison once lived, has pleaded no contest to a lawsuit by the City of West Hollywood alleging that she charged one of her tenants more than the legally allowable rent.

Cheri Woods (Facebook)

In accepting her plea, L.A. Superior Court Judge Jane Godfrey ordered Woods to pay a fine of $500 plus $500 in additional court fees and pay restitution of $5,185 to one of her tenants, who the city alleged was charged more rent than legally allowed. Woods will be placed on probation for 36 months. If Woods had been convicted of violating the city’s rent laws, she would have faced up to six months in prison and a fine of as much as $1,000.

West Hollywood filed a lawsuit against Woods in May, alleging that she harassed tenants of the five-unit building “in a manner that was likely to create a hostile living environment or to cause a reasonable tenant similarly situated to vacate the rental housing unit.” The city also alleged that Woods overcharged Krzeski and failed to reregister a vacant apartment unit. All the units in Woods’ building are covering by the city’s rent stabilization law, which governs the amount a rent can be increased annually.  As part of the settlement, the city dropped the harassment charges.

Woods purchased the apartment building at 8214-8218 Norton Ave. in 2003. She has sought to have it designated as historic-culturally significant, which would have made it eligible for certain rehabilitation incentives that would have allowed Woods to convert it to bed and breakfast. Her argument for the cultural designation is that the building was the home of Jim Morrison of The Doors and his girlfriend, Pamela Curson, from the summer of 1969 to March 1971. In 1971 Curson and Morrison went to Paris, where Morrison died of what is widely believed to have been a drug overdose. He was 27. Woods withdrew her application for the historic-cultural designation earlier this month.

Woods used the state’s Ellis Act to evict tenants from four of the five apartment units. Her daughter currently lives in one of the units.

Before buying the Norton Avenue building, Woods had lived in Studio City, where she was known as the madam of Cheri’s Angels, a ring of prostitutes that she operated from her home. A 2004 story in the Los Angeles Times noted that Woods claimed to have managed 185 prostitutes serving 2,000 clients. Woods also is the author of “Death Row Madam: Exposing Sex and Drugs in the Entertainment Industry,” a book in which she claims to “finally break the madam’s code of silence, as you discover the shocking, kinky stories of the sex lives of the rich and famous.”

  1. Ms. Woods’ “alleged” long history of abuse of tenants and neighbors is well known on Norton Avenue and there are lots of horror stories. She’s reportedly gotten a few “slaps on the hand” before for breaking laws in West Hollywood (including harassing tenants and having illegal short-term rentals), but then she “allegedly” went right back to doing the very same things.The building has deteriorated under her “care” as well. A shame all the way around.

  2. The City could grow some backbone over these “settlements”. Even in litigation that has reached the court they don’t fare too well. What could be the problem?

    Regarding Ms. Woods, seems as if she played a few of the cards often shuffled by Jerome Nash, notorious for threatening tenants especially ladies. The lsme remedy the city offers is “rent reductionhearings” that puts the tenant directly in the line of fire from every conceivable point. I was a witness at one where a tenants wife was threatened and continually harassed by the manager at the direction of the owner. The tenant was a well respected senior executive with a major film studio. The proceedings were tragic. The tenant left as he knew it would happen again and did not wish to be personally provoked in defense of his wife. Later the manager then took aim on the witness at which point a special team of the WH Sherrif Dept. handled it rather swiftly. Litigation ensued w the manager suing the owner but he departed.

    The point is, we need more teeth in the ordinance, landlords that own rent stabilized units should have a higher threshold of behavior to maintain. I do know that at least one errant landlord was barred from landlording a few years back. Consistency is required.

  3. It is disappointing the City dropped the harassment charges against such an obviously guilty landlord. Unfortunately tenant harassment of long term tenants has reached epic proportions yet the City has been slow to respond and admit we have a crisis. Most “moderate” income tenants can’t afford legal fees when being subjected to bullying landlords and the City needs to be more pro-active.

  4. A search online showed up a November 1993 LA Times article which said she spent four years in prison for “pandering” and refusing to build a “retaining wall” on her property. So, she didn’t lean her lesson the first time. The best quote from the article: “A plumpish 44, she appeared wearing wild red lipstick, dangling silver earrings and a pantsuit whose ability to stretch defied all known mathematics.”

  5. Harassment charges against multiple tenants dropped? So, it’s okay to harass tenants in WeHo as long as you register their units first? For the city to after her in the first place I imagine there must have been a good amount of evidence of harassment. Any comments from the city, the tenants or the notorious landlord?

Comments are closed.